Lindsay Flach was keeping a secret as she headed into the track and field Olympic trials in Eugene, Oregon.
The 31-year-old heptathlete is 18 weeks pregnant.
"To be honest, I was going to the tryouts and I was trying to keep it on the down low, because I just wanted to finish my career on my terms," Flach told TODAY Parents.
But on the track, Flach's baby bump was hard to conceal and the athlete took to Instagram to share her happy news.
"3rd Olympic Trials, This one looks a little different," she captioned a carousel of photos of her training, including one with fellow athlete Jordan Gray.
The mom-to-be had previously competed for a spot on the 2012 and 2016 Olympic heptathalon teams.
She continued, “Every story has an end but in life every end is a new beginning. The secret is no secret anymore."
2021 marks the end of Flach's heptathalon career and the start of her motherhood journey, but she decided she needed to compete one more time.
"There are so many stories about running while pregnant and working out while pregnant, so I'm glad I could be a piece of proving a woman can do it," Flach said.
Notoriously one of the most grueling track and field events, the heptathalon includes seven events: the 100-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200-meter sprint, long jump, javelin throw and 800-meter run.
At the trials, where temperatures reached nearly 100 degrees, Flach took part in all seven heptathalon events, but intentionally stepped off the track after 100 meters of the 800-meter run. She placed 15th out of 18 competitors.
While support has poured in, Flach shared there have been several critical comments about the safety of competing while pregnant.
"Woman and moms are so strong — their body is very capable," Flach shared, adding that she took every necessary precaution. Obstetricians generally advise that women who are pregnant can do whatever exercise or activity their bodies are used to doing, as long as they don't have any specific risk factors. "You are the only one who knows your body."
Flach said she is happy to serve as proof that women can do anything.
"Even these 18 weeks I have learned mamas need way more praise than they receive," she said. "And are capable of way more than people allow or give them credit for."